Eight Maxims of Strategy
These maxims are drawn from Chapter XX (pp. 348-349) of Sir Basil H.
Liddell-Hart's book, Strategy (2nd Edition Revised). Frederick A. Praeger,
Publisher: New York (1968).
|Adjust your end to your means.
||Clear sight and cool calculation should prevail. Do
not bite off more than you can chew. Keep a clear sense of what is
possible. Face facts while preserving faith. Confidence will be of no
avail if the troops are run down.
|Keep your object always in mind, while adapting your
plan to circumstances
||Recognize that alternatives exist but make sure they
all bear on the object. Weigh the feasibility of attaining an
objective against its contribution to the attainment of the end in
|Choose the line (or course) of least expectation.
||Put yourself in your oppositionís shoes and try to see
what course of action he will see as least probable and thus not try
|Exploit the line of least resistance -- so long as it
can lead you to any objective that would contribute to your underlying
||Seize on opportunity -- but not any opportunity.
Tactically, this refers to following up on success; strategically, it
refers to the management and deployment of your reserves.
|Take a line of operation which offers alternative
||Choose a single course of action that could have
several objectives; do not let your actions reveal your objectives.
This puts your opponent on the horns of a dilemma. It introduces
uncertainty regarding that which is to be guarded against.
|Ensure that both plans and dispositions are flexible
-- adaptable to circumstances.
||Include contingencies or next steps -- for success as
well as failure. Organize and deploy your resources in ways that
facilitate adaptation to either.
|Do not throw your weight into a stroke whilst your
opponent is on guard -- whilst he is well placed to parry or evade it.
||Unless your opponent is much inferior, do not attack
until he has been disorganized and demoralized. Psychological warfare
precedes physical warfare. Similarly, physical warfare can be
psychological in nature.
|Do not renew an attack along the same line (or in the
same form) after it has once failed.
||If at first you donít succeed, give up. Your
reinforcements will likely be matched by the enemy. Moreover,
successfully repulsing you the first time will morally strengthen him
for the second.